LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell head football coach Joe Susan announced 19 new members to the Bison football program on Wednesday’s National Signing Day. The 19 recruits are diverse geographically, hailing from eight different states and Germany.
While a number of states are represented in the class, Bucknell’s traditional recruiting areas are well represented with five New Jersey natives and three players from Pennsylvania included in the group.
“I would like to welcome these talented student-athletes to the Bucknell Class of 2021,” commented Susan, who will enter his eighth year on the Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium sideline this fall. “The effort of these players, their parents, teachers and coaches through the recruiting process has been thorough. It has been a privilege for our staff to be part of their experience, and we look forward to working with them as they develop in our program.”
“We think the talented young men who make up this class will be positive additions to our team. We have addressed positional needs that are essential to our roster. We are also excited about who they are as individuals. They will be impacted by their experience at Bucknell and in our program, and we will encourage them to impact this university by their presence on campus.”
There are seven offensive players joining the team in this class and 11 defensive players. Additionally, one kicker is part of the class. The most common positions recruited were safety, offensive line and defensive line, with four players at each of those positions.
Bucknell will graduate 18 seniors from the 2016 squad. Eleven of those seniors were regular starters for the Bison, who posted at least a .500 finish in Patriot League play for the third time in the last four years.
Bucknell Football 2017 Recruiting Class
|P.J. Barr||OL||6-3||290||North Brunswick, N.J./St. Joseph|
|Brandon Benson||SAF||6-0||190||Triangle, Va./C.D. Hylton|
|Logan Bitikofer||QB||6-3||200||New Philadelphia, Ohio/New Philadelphia|
|Ryan Brida||SAF||6-0||205||West Chester, Pa./B. Reed Henderson|
|Eric Butler||CB||5-10||160||Altamonte Springs, Fla./Lake Brantley|
|Marquis Carter||RB||6-1||210||Rochester, N.Y./Pittsford Sutherland|
|Mike Colantuono||LS/DE||6-2||235||Warren, N.J./Immaculata|
|Joe Fex||SAF||5-10||180||Coppell, Texas/Coppell|
|Blais Herman||WR||6-3||195||Austin, Texas/St. Andrew's Episcopal School/Loomis Chaffee (Conn.)|
|Simon Krizak||OL||6-4||300||Stuttgart, Germany/Eschbach-Gymnasium/The Hill School (Pa.)|
|Roger Mellado||DL||6-1||230||Lorton, Va./Gonzaga College High School|
|Rick Mottram||LB||6-1||225||Cream Ridge, N.J./Allentown|
|Clay Myers||DT||6-1||275||Pittsburgh, Pa./Pittsburgh Central Catholic|
|Simeon Page||LB||6-0||225||Riverton, Utah/Riverton/Air Force Academy Prep|
|Justis Peppers||OL||6-4||310||King George, Va./King George|
|Ethan Torres||P/K||6-1||180||Great Falls, Va./Bishop O'Connell|
|Alex Twiford||TE||6-2||240||Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson|
|Nnamdi Unachukwu||DE||6-6||235||Morganville, N.J./Marlboro|
|Gerrit Van Itallie||SAF||6-0||210||Mahwah, N.J./Saint Joseph Regional|
P.J. Barr, OL, 6-3, 290, North Brunswick, N.J./St. Joseph | Video Highlights
St. Joseph High School: Three-year football letterwinner … three-time all-area selection … two- time first-team all-conference … team Underclassman of the Year as a sophomore … team Offensive Lineman of the year as a junior and senior … team captain as a junior and senior … McCarthy Report Top 100 players in New Jersey … 47 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and five sacks as a senior … team finished 9-1 and won the GMC White Division as a senior.
Personal: Paul John Barr … born June. 3, 1999 in New Brunswick, New Jersey … son of David and Barbara … has three younger siblings: David, Maggie and Liam … father, David, played football at Hofstra University … mother, Barbara, was a cheerleader for Hofstra University.
Brandon Benson, SAF, 6-0, 190, Triangle, Va./C.D. Hylton | Video Highlights
C.D. Hylton High School: Three-year football letterwinner … also earned two Academic Achievement letters … First Team All-6A Conference safety as a senior … named Honorable Mention all-conference as a junior … team captain as a senior … also served as holder on PATs … totaled 76 tackles, six pass breakups, five tackles for loss and four interceptions his final two years playing both linebacker and safety.
Personal: Brandon Benson … born Nov. 3, 1998 in Rocky Mount, Virginia … son of Al and Tanya Benson … has two older sisters, Ashleigh and Alecia … grew up in a military family and lived in three different states … first person in family to compete in college athletics.
Logan Bitikofer, QB, 6-3, 200, New Philadelphia, Ohio/New Philadelphia | Video Highlights
New Philadelphia High School: Three-year football and two-year basketball letterwinner … graduated with the most passing yards in school history … First Team All-ECOL … First Team All-Eastern District … First Team All-Region … Second Team All-Ohio … named the Offensive Player of the Year in ECOL … Offensive Player of the Year in Eastern District … team captain as a senior … team made four straight playoff appearances and earned one ECOL championship.
Personal: Logan Matthew Bitikofer … born Dec. 26, 1998 in Dover, Ohio … son of Chad and Tricia Hicks and Matt Bitikofer …has one younger brother Jaymis.
Ryan Brida, SAF, 6-0, 205, West Chester, Pa./B. Reed Henderson | Video Highlights
B. Reed Henderson High School: Three-year football and one-year basketball letterwinner … football team captain … earned the school’s James T. Smith Leadership Award … First Team All-Ches-Mont linebacker and All-Ches-Mont Defensive Player of the Year … DLN All-Area First Team linebacker … Mini-Max Award winner … totaled 137 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, three sacks and one interception as a senior.
Personal: Ryan Nicholas Brida … born March. 16, 1999 in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania … son of Ralph and Cheryl Brida … has one older sister, Rachel.
Eric Butler, CB, 5-10, 160, Altamonte Springs, Fla./Lake Brantley | Video Highlights
Lake Brantley High School: Member of football and weightlifting teams … all-conference football player … football team captain … totaled 40 tackles, three interceptions and two forced fumbles … helped team to second round of playoffs.
Personal: Eric Windsor Butler … born Dec. 31, 1998 in Kissimmee, Florida … son of Angela Watts … has three siblings: Breeana, Cierra and Erykah.
Marquis Carter, RB, 6-1, 210, Rochester, N.Y./Pittsford Sutherland | Video Highlights
Pittsford Sutherland High School: Member of football and track and field teams … named an All-Greater Rochester football player … all-state selection … ran for 763 yards and 11 touchdowns … all-county selection in track … also played youth tennis.
Personal: Marquis LuVien Carter … born Dec. 29, 1998 in Rochester, New York … son of Maurice and Deirdre Carter … has four older siblings: Maurice, Deirdre, Marissa and DeVan … Deirdre was a member of the track and field team at the University at Buffalo … DeVan played football at Rutgers.
Mike Colantuono, LS/DE, 6-2, 235, Warren, N.J./Immaculata | Video Highlights
Immaculata High School: Three-year football letterwinner … first-team all-conference defensive end and a second-team all-area defensive end … named Special Teams Player of the Year as a sophomore … totaled 62 taackles and 9.5 sacks as a senior … helped team to three state semifinal appearances.
Personal: Michael Tyler Colantuono … born July 7, 1998 in Livingston, New Jersey … son of Michael and Sarah Colantuono … has three siblings: Frank, Matthew and Allison.
Joe Fex, SAF, 5-10, 180, Coppell, Texas/Coppell | Video Highlights
Coppell High School: Four- year track and three-year football letterwinner … two-time lacrosse letterwinner … more than 3,000 career rushing yards … two-year team captain … three-time all-district selection … Newcomer of the Year in district … team was the Central Texas runner-up.
Personal: Joseph Steven Fex … born Aug. 27, 1998 in Houston, Texas … son of Steven and Colleen Fex … has three younger siblings: Jake, Jimmy and Katie … father, Steven, played football at Oregon, Western Oregon and with the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League … mother, Colleen, played college basketball at Western Oregon … uncle, Jimmy Mortensen, was a professional cyclist … grandfather, Joe, was an Olympic hurdler.
Blais Herman, WR, 6-3, 195, Austin, Texas/St. Andrew’s Episcopal School (Loomis Chaffee (Conn.)) | Video Highlights
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School/ Loomis Chaffee: Attended St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas, for four years … spent a post-grad year at Loomis Chaffee in Connecticut … five-year football and baseball letterwinner … two-year basketball letterwinner … graduated as St. Andrew’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns … team captain as a junior and senior …captain of baseball team as a senior …varsity starter in football and baseball since freshman year … junior and senior year lead central Texas in receiving yards and touchdowns for Class 4A and below … first-team all-conference center fielder in baseball as a senior …second-team all-league selection during year at Loomis Chaffee …lead the NEPSAC in yards (856) and receptions (68).
Personal: Blais Alan Herman … born Oct. 17, 1997 in Austin, Texas … son of Lynn Blais and Guy Herman … has four older siblings: Russell, Margaret, Julia and Avery … mother, Lynn, was an All-New England field hockey goalie and also played basketball at Wellesley.
Simon Krizak, OL, 6-4, 300, Stuttgart, Germany/Eschbach-Gymnasium (The Hill School (Pa.)) | Video Highlights
The Hill School: Played football during post-grad year at the Hill School … graduated from Eschbach-Gymnasium in Germany in 2015 … second-team all-league selection at The Hill School.
Personal: Simon Krizak … born Sept. 8, 1997 in Stuttgart, Germany … son of Markus and Magdalena Krizak … has one brother, Dominik … came to the United States from Germany last year.
Roger Mellado, DL, 6-1, 230, Lorton, Va./Gonzaga College High School | Video Highlights
Gonzaga College High School: Three-year football letterwinner … First Team All-WCAC and All-DCSAA defensive lineman … USA Today Second Team All-Defensive Lineman … helped team to back-to-back DCSAA titles … team posted an 8-3 record his senior year … was also a two-year rugby letterwinner and a member of the wrestling team.
Personal: Roger Ballantine Mellado … born Jan. 21, 1999 in Washington, D.C. … son of Andrea Mellado.
Rick Mottram, LB, 6-1, 225, Cream Ridge, N.J./Allentown | Video Highlights
Allentown High School: Four-year football letterwinner … two-year team captain … three-time West Jersey Football League All-Colonial Division First Team … three-time Trenton Times All-Area Football Team … two-time All-Group 4 First Team … first-team all-state selection … two-time Trenton Times Defensive Player of the Year … twice named the Trenton Times Athlete of the Week … finished career with 435 career tackles, the most in school history … 22 career touchdowns and three interceptions … helped team to 2016 Central Jersey Group IV state title and three West Jersey Football League conference titles … team was 10-2 his senior year and totaled 30 victories during his career … also a member of the school’s track & field team in 2014.
Personal: Richard Lewis Mottram … born Oct. 26, 1998 in Cream Ridge, New Jersey … son of Dan and Christine … has three siblings: Sarah, Jack and Michael.
Clay Myers, DT, 6-1, 275, Pittsburgh, Pa./Pittsburgh Central Catholic | Video Highlights
Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School: Three-year football letterwinner … second-team all-conference honor roll as a senior … 13 tackles for loss and team’s starting tight end … team was section champions for all three of his years … team won two WPIAL Champions and one PIAA title in his three years on varsity.
Personal: Clay James Myers … born Nov. 11, 1998 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania … son of Heather and Jim … has one younger brother, Jacob.
Simeon Page, LB, 6-0, 225, Riverton, Utah/Riverton (Air Force Academy Prep) | Video Highlights
Riverton High School/Air Force Academy Prep: Graduated from Riverton High School in 2016 … spent a post-grad semester at Air Force Academy Prep … three-year football letterwinner at Riverton … also earned four wrestling letters and one for track and field … led state in tackles with 170 as a junior … two-year team captain … two-time first-team all-state … honorable mention all-state as a sophomore … named Defensive MVP of region as a junior … placed in top five in state three times as a wrestler … won state title as a senior … helped 4x100 relay to a state title as a senior … helped track team to a state title as a sophomore … named Male Athlete of the Year as a senior at Riverton High School.
Personal: Simeon Parker Page … born Feb. 23, 1998 in Sandy, Utah … son of Glen and Cori Page … has a younger brother, Cooper, and a younger sister, Bailey.
Justis Peppers, OL, 6-4, 310, King George, Va./King George | Video Highlights
King George High School: Member of football and track and field teams … two-time all-area football player …two-time second-team all-conference selection … two-year offensive line captain … team captain as a senior … helped team to two consecutive playoff berths … first-team all-conference track and field selection as a junior.
Personal: Justis Young Peppers … born March 16, 1999 in Woodbridge, Virginia … son of Lamarr Peppers and Monica Brown … has two siblings, Travis Degraphenried and Lamarr Peppers Jr. … started performing community service with mother at the age of five and regularly volunteered at the local food bank, served as a water boy at charity runs and worked with Habitat for Humanity.
Ethan Torres, P/K, 6-1, 180, Great Falls, Va./Bishop O’Connell | Video Highlights
Bishop O’Connell High School: Three-year football and three-year track letterwinner … football team captain and special teams MVP … Ray Guy All-American … First Team All-State seletion … First Team All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference … First Team All-Arlington County … ranked as the No. 4 national combo kicker by Ray Guy Prokicker … named a five-star punter by Kohl’s Kicking … ranked as the No. 13 overall punter in the Class of 2017 by Chris Sailer Kicking.
Personal: Ethan Patrick Torres … born June 10, 1999 in Livingston, New Jersey … son of Jeff and Alison … has two younger sisters, Sidney and Reese … uncle, Ralph, played baseball at UC Santa Barbara … cousin, Rick, played baseball at USC.
Alex Twiford, TE, 6-2, 240, Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson | Video Highlights
Wilson High School: Three-year football and baseball letterwinner … three-time First Team Section 1 Lancaster-Lebanon tight end … First Team Berks County selection as a senior … team captain as Offensive MVP as a senior … finished career with 76 receptions, 18 rushes, 1,030 total yards and 16 touchdowns … helped team to four straight Section 1 Lancaster-Lebanon championships, stretching school’s streak to nine consecutive titles … team was a combined 48-6 during his career.
Personal: Alexander James Twiford … born Nov. 26, 1998 in Reading, Pennsylvania … son of David Twiford and Susan Smolnik … has an older brother, Tyler … grandfather, Stanley Smolnik played football at Albright College.
Nnamdi Unachukwu, DE, 6-6, 235, Morganville, N.J./Marlboro | Video Highlights
Marlboro High School: Named to NJSIAA Central Jersey Group V All-District Team … 36 tackles, six sacks and one blocked field goal from defensive end position.
Personal: Nnamdi O. Unachukwu … born July 14, 1999 in Edison, New Jersey … son of Dan and Ebele … has three older siblings: Adaobi, Kenechi and Ijeoma … Adaobi was a member of the track & field team at Michigan … cousin, Ndichie, played football at Villanova … first generation Nigerian-American … hopes to pursue a career in physical therapy.
Gerrit Van Itallie, SAF, 6-0, 210, Mahwah, N.J./Saint Joseph Regional | Video Highlights
Saint Joseph Regional: Three-year football letterwinner … second-team all-county and all-league selection … totaled 72 tackles and three touchdowns from safety position … three-year starter … team was ranked No. 1 in New Jersey and in the top 25 nationally while playing in one of the toughest leagues in the country … also a member of the track and field team for one year … played summer club baseball.
Personal: Gerrit Van Itallie … born Aug. 23, 1998 in Teaneck, New Jersey … son of Edward and Cathy … has two siblings, Jordan and Jack … has played football since kindergarten … never played on a team with a losing record … passionate about fly fishing.